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Blowout Preventer

May 25, 2010 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
As early as Wednesday, BP will begin its first attempt to seal the deep ocean well that is spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, using a series of high-risk maneuvers that has never been attempted at such depths. The so-called top kill effort is increasingly crucial for BP, which has come under attack in recent days from Obama administration officials and Gulf Coast states frustrated with the company's inability to cap the well and stop the worsening environmental disaster. BP officials were running diagnostics Tuesday on the blowout preventer above the leaking well, a final step before the effort gets underway.
May 1, 2010 | By Margot Roosevelt, Los Angeles Times
Investigators delving into the causes of the massive gulf oil spill are examining the role of Houston-based Halliburton Co., the giant energy services company that was responsible for cementing the deepwater drill hole, as well as the possible failure of equipment leased to British Petroleum. Two members of Congress, Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), called on Halliburton on Friday to provide all documents relating to "the possibility or risk of an explosion or blowout at the Deepwater Horizon rig and the status, adequacy, quality, monitoring, and inspection of the cementing work" by May 7. Halliburton Chief Executive David Lesar is scheduled to testify before Waxman's energy and commerce committee on May 12, along with top executives Lamar McKay of BP America Inc. and Steve Newman of Transocean Ltd., which leased the drilling rig to BP. In a statement Friday, Halliburton said: "It is premature and irresponsible to speculate on any specific causal issues.
June 29, 2010 | Jim Tankersley, Tribune Washington Bureau
The gushing BP oil well is a mystery still unfolding, and late last month, a team of scientists from the Energy Department discovered a new twist: Their sophisticated imaging equipment detected not one but two drill pipes, side by side, inside the wreckage of the well's blowout preventer on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. BP officials said it was impossible. The Deepwater Horizon rig, which drilled the well, used a single pipe, connected in segments, to bore 13,000 feet below the ocean floor.
December 1, 1988 | PENELOPE McMILLAN, Times Staff Writer
Texaco Inc. and a former employee have agreed to plead guilty to a two-count criminal charge of failing to conduct critical safety testing on an offshore oil platform in the Channel Islands area, Justice Department officials said Wednesday. The criminal complaint, filed by the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, states that Texaco and a former drilling supervisor, Bobby R. Brogdin, 48, of Bakersfield, intentionally decided not to conduct weekly safety testing as required by federal law.
September 15, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee and Richard Fausset, Tribune Washington Bureau and Los Angeles Times
BP and the two other companies drilling the exploratory Macondo oil well in the Gulf of Mexico all violated federal safety regulations leading up to last year's oil spill, a federal investigation concluded in findings that could be crucial for a Justice Department investigation and numerous lawsuits surrounding the disaster. The report pinned much of the blame on oil giant BP, which was "ultimately responsible" for operations and safety on the rig. But the joint inquiry by the Coast Guard and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement was critical of BP's drilling contractors,Transocean and Halliburton.
August 14, 2010 | By Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times
Although BP's troubled well in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be plugged from the top and bottom, the federal spill commander said Friday that government and company officials have agreed that a relief well should be completed to ensure a permanent seal. Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen raised the possibility Thursday that last week's "static kill" operation, in which the well's inner casing was jammed with cement, might have made that final step unnecessary. A four-hour pressure test was conducted to determine whether oil was still flowing freely from a deep reservoir into the outer ring of the well bore.
May 12, 2010 | By Jill Leovy, Los Angeles Times
A UC Berkeley professor who is conducting an informal assessment of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead blast said Tuesday that BP documents leaked to him indicate that contaminants in cement encasing the well were the initial cause of the explosion that led to the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Robert Bea, a UC Berkeley professor who directs the school's Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, said the flaw led to natural gas shooting up a riser pipe from the wellhead to the rig above, where it exploded.
November 17, 2010 | By Neela Banerjee, Tribune Washington Bureau
Failure to manage the risks of a complex well and to learn from an earlier narrowly missed disaster contributed significantly to the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, a panel investigating the BP oil spill said Wednesday. "Numerous decisions" to continue operations despite repeated warnings of problems "suggest an insufficient consideration of risk and a lack of operating discipline," according to a report issued by a committee at the National Academy of Engineering/National Research Council, which was convened at the request of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
May 26, 2010 | By Richard Simon and Jill Leovy, Los Angeles Times
There were warning signs of a valve leak nearly five hours before the deadly gulf oil rig explosion, according to an internal BP investigation, which also found that a number of equipment and system failures may have caused the Deepwater Horizon disaster. BP's preliminary inquiry raises questions about the cementing of the deep-sea oil well and the blowout preventer that failed, members of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations were told Tuesday. The BP investigation identifies "new warning signs of problems" before the explosion, including "whether proper procedures were followed for critical activities throughout the day," Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills)
One of the biggest natural gas fires in California history went out on its own Tuesday morning after water began seeping into the gas, creating a mixture that was no longer combustible, authorities said. "Water began seeping into the well, which happens all the time in oil fields," said Deputy Chief Steve Gage of the Kern County Fire Department, which has been monitoring the Lost Hills blaze that burned for more than two weeks. The well fire had been expected to burn for several months.
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